Autism and Aspergers
Question:Can you recommend summer camps especially for kids with special needs?
As a non-profit organization, we cannot recommend specific camps. We can, however, direct you to articles with the information you need. It is important to be a careful consumer when looking for a program for a child with special needs. If possible, visit the site and talk with previous clients first.
Here are some articles you may be interested in:
- Helping You Choose a Summer Camp for Your LD Child
- Make the Right Choice
- Selecting a Summer Camp for a Child with Learning or Attention Problems
Additional resources found on LD OnLine include:
- DO-IT Summer Camps
- Kids' Camps is a comprehensive online directory of camps and summer experiences.
- National Camp Association offers tips and insight for parents and children.
- Learning Camp
- Camp Nuhop is a summer camp for children with learning disabilities, behavioral disorders, and attention deficit disorders (in Ohio & Colorado).
- The Directory of Summer Camps for Children with Learning Disabilities is available from the Learning Disabilities Association
Here are a few other resources:
Question:Can you recommend any books that are at a lower reading level but would still appeal to older students?
It can be difficult to find books that have high interest and are also written at a level so that children with reading challenges can enjoy them. A good starting point would be to talk to the special education teachers, reading specialist, and librarian at your child's school. In addition to recommended books, you may also want to ask for suggestions of children's magazines. Magazines tend to have appeal for all students and have many advantages for struggling readers because of their interesting and current topics, large number of graphics, short articles, and "adult" look. Also consider asking the librarian for suggestions of books of poems. There are some hilarious contemporary poets out there whose poems have mass kid appeal. And because poems, like magazine articles, are short, they are instantly gratifying and provide an immediate sense of accomplishment for all readers.
The following articles provide suggestions for ways to encourage reading, describe the benefits of reading aloud to children, and list book titles for reluctant readers:
- Reading Tips from Kids
- Encouraging Your Child to Read
- When Kids Hate to Read
- How Can I Improve My Child's Reading?
- Tips for Encouraging Kids to Read
This next set of articles provides information about choosing books, audio books, poetry, read aloud books, determining a child's reading level, and lists other recommended books:
- Children's Books and Authors
- Hooking Struggling Readers: Using Books They Can and Want to Read
- Benefits of Audiobooks for All Readers
- Using Poetry to Teach Reading
You might also look into high interest-low reading level books (hi-lo books). Find helpful information about hi-lo books and booklists.
Question:What should I do for my child who has an IEP but still has trouble with handwriting, taking notes, and writing at an appropriate speed?
The following articles describe some typical characteristics of students who struggle with the physical act of writing:
- Helping Students Who Struggle to Write
- Understanding Why Students Avoid Writing
- What Is Dysgraphia?
- Strategies for Dealing with Dysgraphia
- Understanding Processing Deficits
- Dysgraphia Accommodations and Modifications
- Assistive Technologies for Dysgraphia
If you see some of your child’s struggles described in these articles, you may want to call an IEP meeting to share your concerns. At this time, you and the other members of the IEP team can discuss whether the goals, objectives, accommodations, modifications, and types and level of services your child is receiving are meeting his needs in the area of writing. This would also be a good time to discuss whether your child’s writing challenges are most likely related to the disability label under which he has an IEP or if further evaluation is warranted to get a clearer picture of why writing is such a struggle for him.
Regardless of the cause of your child’s writing difficulties, he may experience greater success, confidence, stamina, and productivity by using a computer, software that aids in the writing process, and other relevant assistive technology. You and the rest of the IEP team should discuss the possibility of incorporating keyboarding skills and technological tools in your child’s IEP as goals, objectives, and accommodations in his everyday academic experience.
The sooner your child’s writing challenges can be systematically addressed, the more likely he will be to reach his true potential in writing.
Question:My son's school would like to place him in a self-contained classroom. I don't agree. What can I do to make sure my child has the best possible learning environment?
School districts are required to educate students with disabilities in regular classrooms with their non-disabled peers in the school they would attend if not disabled, to the maximum extent appropriate. This is commonly referred to as the least restrictive environment (LRE).
To become more familiar with the law, check the following sites for information about the legal aspects of Special Education.
If you believe the school's decision is not in the best interest of your child, you may wish to contact one of the following organizations specializing in advocacy and legal rights of parents. These organizations can provide advice for your specific situation.
Question:I have a number of students with severe disabilities in my classroom that are performing at a level far below their classmates. Should they be in my class? How can I help them?
Students with varying disabilities, representing a wide range of age levels, can be taught very successfully when grouped together, provided the teacher has significant training and assistance. This practice is called inclusion. Since each child's IEP governs his or her schooling, such students need individualized programs but can easily be grouped with others for many lessons. More and more, teachers are expected to meet each child's unique needs regardless of their educational "labels" of special, gifted or general.
Check to see what academic goals exist for each student. Some may need to be with non-handicapped students in order to develop social skills, with limited expectations for academic achievement. Meet with the special educators to determine how you can support these children. Usually, some degree of differentiated instruction (DI) is required.
LD OnLine has sections devoted to Inclusion and Differentiating Instruction. Reading Rockets also has information on Differentiated Instruction:
Also check the following sources:
- National Professional Resources, Inc. has a good inventory of videos and books on differentiation